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Thread: Emerald Green: the color of 2013

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    Emerald Green: the color of 2013

    EDIT: Please review the image and then read the post immediately following this one. Do you share Matt's problem with the photo expressed in that post?

    The Pantone Institute selects one color each year to be the color of the year. The color of 2013 is Emerald Green, as seen here. It is just a coincidence that I bought this emerald green glass last year from a thrift shop solely so I could photograph it in my makeshift studio.

    Prior to making this photo, all of the glass that I had photographed has been clear. So, I used this glass partly as a tool to learn how to bring out the color, whether the color happens to be in the glass itself or in whatever liquid is in the glass.

    I lit the subject the same way as when making all of my dark-field photos -- a large light shining through a diffuser toward a rectangular card, the subject and the camera. When using that method, the colored part of the glass appears only on the edges of the stem, exactly as the white part of the clear glass is displayed only at the edges. Similarly, that lighting scheme displays very little of the green color in the base of the glass. Does anyone want to guess how I got the green to appear fully illuminated in the photo, which is quite close to how the glass appears under normal light in a room?

    Hint: If you have the fourth edition of Light: Science and Magic, the basic principle is explained beginning on the bottom of page 184. However, I used only the principle explained there, not the exact process.

    Click the image to eliminate the moire effect.


    Photo #1
    Emerald Green: the color of 2013
    Last edited by Mike Buckley; 15th January 2013 at 05:10 AM.

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    FlyingSquirrel's Avatar
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    Re: Emerald Green: the color of 2013

    Hi Mike, great lighting job as usual. Beautiful glass, I love the color. The only thing about this photo that doesn't work for me personally is that perspective of the base is at a different angle than the glass rim up top. I guess it's lens distortion due to a wider angle up close? I'd rather see the top and bottom perspectives match, but I wonder if you made it this way on purpose to showcase more of the green portion. The stem itself is enough for me, and much more attractive than the base. Still a lovely shot though.

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    Re: Emerald Green: the color of 2013

    I'll make another one, Matt, using your idea.

    You're right that one reason I made the photo this way is to display more of the base. However, a far more important reason has to do with displaying the top rim of the glass. I have found in the past, especially when using apparently cheap glass such as this that has many imperfections, that it is important to shoot from above the top of the glass. Doing so and including all of the base, which I think is necessary, results in this angle. If I were to shoot from below the top rim, I would be shooting the rear of the rim through the front part of the glass. In the past, that has usually resulted in light refraction that distorts the rear rim. This issue has been so prevalent that I didn't even try shooting from below the top rim.

    You referred to lens distortion. I think you're referring to what I call perspective distortion, though I recently learned from the technically astute people around here that that is not an accurate term to use. (I don't remember the accurate term.) I could be wrong, but I don't think this image displays it. Instead, I think the issue that you notice is caused by the camera being only slightly above the top of the glass and being much higher above the base of the glass, which indeed is two different perspectives.

    I used a 35mm lens on a camera with a 1.5 crop factor. I don't think I have enough room in my makeshift studio to be farther away from the subject using my 85mm lens, which is my next longest focal length. I suppose I could get farther away using my 35mm lens and crop the image, but I prefer making use of all of the available pixels.

    Thanks for explaining your reaction! I'll get back to you in the next day or so after I have made another one.
    Last edited by Mike Buckley; 14th January 2013 at 12:00 PM.

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    Re: Emerald Green: the color of 2013

    Hmm, looks like there's a white tissue under the foot, and you have frosted the stem?
    I like the result, although you lose the clear glass effect on the stem.

    The glass looks like the 'traditional' Alsace wine glass, btw.

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    Re: Emerald Green: the color of 2013

    Can I say I don't like if without offending? Hope so. The green looks cloudy and dense, much heavier than the bowl of the glass, almost plastic. I think, don't know for sure, that the intensity of the green would have come through if the base is shown just like the top. Not expressing this well, but it doesn't look as delicate as some of your other pictures. I have the book "Light, Science and Magic" waiting for me at the library and weather permitting will be able to pick it up tomorrow, maybe then I will understand what you have done and why.

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    Re: Emerald Green: the color of 2013

    But, Mike has a problem (like anyone trying to photograph a coloured transparent object on a black background): the colour of the background shines through.
    So the nice green colour of the glass would all but disappear without some tricks...

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    Re: Emerald Green: the color of 2013

    Wouldn't the color show through like the edges of the upper part/bowl of the glass?

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    Re: Emerald Green: the color of 2013

    Partly, but most of the white is reflection of light sources or reflectors. The only ones that would show the green would would be reflections from internal surfaces, where the light has to pass through he glass to reach the camera. Light: science and magic has a whole chapter (out of 10) on lighting glass, and the trick to show the colour is just one item...

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    Re: Emerald Green: the color of 2013

    Remco cheated by reading the book , so his explanation is very close. I also failed to explicitly explain that both the stem and the base are green glass. So, no frosting was done on the stem as he suggested. It's important to recognize that Remco is exactly correct that when using a dark background, that's the color that shows through all but the edges of the glass. That's true whether the glass is clear or has color, so long as it is transparent.

    The authors of Light: Science & Magic explain how to get the color of the glass to display not just on the edges but also in the middle. After setting up the shot, they advise to temporarily replace the camera with a light shining on the subject. Place a piece of material behind the glass. It should be either white, a similar color as the glass, or made of foil. Make an outline on the material of the shadow cast by the lit subject and cut the material to that shape. Remove all of the material that was not part of the shadow, replace the light with the camera and take the shot. One method is to light the cut material and to use a gobo to prevent that light from causing flare.

    I made the photo shown above using the same principle but with a less time-consuming method, at least less time-consuming for someone such as myself who is a total klutz. I laid a piece of white poster board on the tabletop and set the glass on top of it. Fortunately, there was enough light shining around the black background piece to adequately light the white poster board. That's what allowed the green glass to be displayed. During post-processing, I easily masked the white poster board and changed it to the same color as the black background.

    Notice that the top of the stem has some black showing through the middle of the stem. That's because I intentionally used a setup that did not allow the white poster board to be adequately lit in that area of the stem. In other words, I was able to create an artistic transition at the top of the stem from being completely green in most of the stem, to being partly clear at the top of the stem, and finally to being completely clear in the bowl of the glass. That decision was just my artistic choice; I could have easily made the entire stem green by ensuring that the white poster board at the top was adequately lit.

    I will eventually try variations on this theme, but it was really a lot of fun to so easily create this photo using such an easy method that employs the basic principle explained in the book. Trust me when I say that not all such first attempts at photographing glass have been nearly so easy.

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    Re: Emerald Green: the color of 2013

    Thank you, like I said earlier, the book is waiting at the library. It is closed to day and is snowing but by tomorrow I should be able to go get it. I hope it isn't as complicated as I think it is going to be. I have several pieces of glass items that I think would be fun to shoot. I don't have any light sources but will deal with that after I start reading the book. It comes as an eBook, may be one to add to my library, but at $33+ will use library copy first.
    Last edited by CLK; 14th January 2013 at 08:11 PM. Reason: added comment

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    Re: Emerald Green: the color of 2013

    Quote Originally Posted by CLK View Post
    Wouldn't the color show through like the edges of the upper part/bowl of the glass?
    You're right about that, Connie, as is Remco, who explained that only part of the green color will be displayed. The photo shown below was made without the white poster board. As you can see, the green color is apparent only near the edges of the stem, not in the middle. The other difference, which is not pertinent to this specific part of the discussion, is that the reflection is produced because I used a mirror tabletop. Notice also that the bottom of the bowl in this version has a far smaller white area. That is because there is no white poster board being reflected in the bottom of the bowl as happened in the first photo.

    Matt will probably prefer this angle more than the other one and I can't say that I disagree with him.


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    Emerald Green: the color of 2013
    Last edited by Mike Buckley; 15th January 2013 at 05:10 AM.

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    Re: Emerald Green: the color of 2013

    Quote Originally Posted by CLK View Post
    I hope it isn't as complicated as I think it is going to be.
    For me, getting everything set up the first time and gaining command of how to use it was complicated. Hopefully you're more of a quick learner than I am.

    EDIT: I just now remembered Manfred's post showing two photos of his decanter using a setup that I think is probably easier. The setup I am using is actually quite easy for me now that I have become accustomed to it, so much so that I never got around to trying Manfred's setup.
    Last edited by Mike Buckley; 14th January 2013 at 08:19 PM.

  13. #13

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    Re: Emerald Green: the color of 2013

    I do like this better, despite that stem having the black center. I can see and appreciate that the stem is green and transparent and the clearer/less white bowl adds to the fragility of the glass as IMHO the first one looked kind of klunky (my own technical term).

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    Re: Emerald Green: the color of 2013

    Very interesting thread. I've marked it in case I do this kind of photography one day.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Buckley View Post
    You referred to lens distortion. I think you're referring to what I call perspective distortion, though I recently learned from the technically astute people around here that that is not an accurate term to use. (I don't remember the accurate term.) I could be wrong, but I don't think this image displays it. Instead, I think the issue that you notice is caused by the camera being only slightly above the top of the glass and being much higher above the base of the glass, which indeed is two different perspectives.
    I'm reading "The Photographer's Eye", by Michael Freeman, and he calls this "linear perspective". Your explanation is spot on. To quote Freeman: "Viewpoint determines the degree of convergence, and the more acute the angle of view to the surface, the greater this is - at least until the camera is close to ground level, at which point the convergence becomes extreme enough to disappear." If the camera were at the mid-height of the glass, you'd see the same convergence in the base and the top of the glass.

    BTW, another quote from the book (which is actually a quote of a quote by Johannes Itten) really summed up my reason for buying it: "If you, unknowng, are able to create masterpieces in color, then unknowledge is your way. But if you are unable to create masterpieces in color out of your unknowledge, then you ought to look for knowledge."

    (OMG, what do I do if I don't start creating masterpieces after reading it.)

    Tony

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    Re: Emerald Green: the color of 2013

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony M View Post
    (OMG, what do I do if I don't start creating masterpieces after reading it.)
    Perhaps form a club and invite me, as a leading expert on how to make lots and lots of photographs without creating a single masterpiece, to be the club president.

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    Re: Emerald Green: the color of 2013

    Quote Originally Posted by CLK View Post
    klunky (my own technical term).
    A nice variation on the term, "clunky." I like it perhaps because "klunky" goes so well with "klutz!"

    Seriously, I agree that the second photo has an elegance and sophistication that is lacking in the first one. I'm still at the stage that I'm making photos of this glass in different styles so I can learn how to reliably produce a particular look when I have it in mind. I'm not there yet, but I'm a lot closer than I was two days ago. I'll add at least one more photo to this thread.
    Last edited by Mike Buckley; 14th January 2013 at 10:36 PM.

  17. #17

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    Re: Emerald Green: the color of 2013

    Connie,

    I realize that earlier editions of the book are available as an ebook, but I haven't seen the most recent edition, the fourth edition, available that way. If you have found it, please provide a link so others can also consider the electronic version.

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    Re: Emerald Green: the color of 2013

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony M View Post
    "The Photographer's Eye", by Michael Freeman
    If you ever go to Angkor, Cambodia, his book, Ancient Angkor, is an absolute must for knowing where to go, what time of day to go for the best light, and how to reliably find certain details among the ruins that, otherwise, you would only hope to find by stumbling upon them by accident.
    Last edited by Mike Buckley; 15th January 2013 at 06:06 AM.

  19. #19

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    Re: Emerald Green: the color of 2013

    Mike, here are the links to the Light, Science and Magic that are ebook editions. KOBOs is an independent book store site which I try to use since my local store is affiliated, however Amazon is a few dollars cheaper. KOBO is an Adobe Epub format and Amazon is Kindle. If you have an iPad either will work as there is a Kindle app for the iPad. It looks like they both have the 4e from November 2012.
    http://www.kobobooks.com/search/sear...&s=none&g=both
    http://www.amazon.com/Light-Science-...mm_kin_title_0

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    Re: Emerald Green: the color of 2013

    Good sleuthing, Connie!

    (Ummm, this reveals that I know absolutely nothing about Epub and Kindle formats...actually any formats other than PDF. )

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